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Take the time to do the following four times a year when the seasons change and you won't find yourself calling for a tow. Print this and take it out to the car.

___ First-aid kit
___ Fire extinguisher (make sure it is appropriate for engine fires).
___ Spare fuses and bulbs can be especially important when traveling        away from home.

Tires - In addition to the below, check you tires' air pressure once a month.

___1) Check for uneven wear - this may give you early warning of            suspension problems.
___2) Inflate properly, not to the pressure on the tire but to the pressure           on the sticker on your glove compartment, door jamb or owner's           manual. This is the appropriate pressure for the weight of your           vehicle.
___3) Inspect your spare and, just to be sure, get at least one can of tire           inflator.
___4) Know how your jack works and where to set it when changing           each tire.

Windshield wipers - Replace them if cracked or stiff. (Them, not you.)

Exterior lights - With the help of someone else or in the reflection of a window, check all lights.

___License plate light
___Back-up light
___Tail lights
___Brake lights
___Rear turn signals
___Head lights - Upper and lower beams
___Front turn signals
___Front side turn indicator lights, if you have them
___Parking lights

Under The Hood

___1) Coolant - Make sure it works (get a tester or have your mechanic           test it) and is full. Be careful to fill when the engine is cold and only           to the designated level. Newer cars will have a reservoir so you          don't have to open the radiator.
___2) Windshield washer fluid - Fill it

3) Other fluids

___ Motor oil - Check level
___Transmission - Fill, making sure fluids meet owner's manual        guidelines.
___ Power steering - Fill, making sure fluids meet owner's manual        guidelines
___ Brake - Kind of important, so get the system flushed and refilled.        Have the brakes inspected at the same time.

4) - ___Radiator and heater hoses - Look for cracks, leaks (especially              around the clamps) and brittle hoses. Err on the side of caution -              if in doubt, replace it. Confirm the clamps are tight. Don't forget              the lower radiator hose.

5) - Filters

___ Air - How long since you replaced it?
___ Gas - Check for free flow or have it checked
___ Oil - Replace every time you change the oil.

6) - Battery

___ Cables
___ Clamps - watch for corrosion
___ Fluid, if it can be filled
___ How much time is left on its planned life span?

___ 7) Belts - Check for cracks, brittleness and proper tension

___ Horn - Oh, you probably know whether it works or not.

Also, probably so obvious I shouldn't need to mention it - do your preventive maintenance per the schedule in your owner's manual. Especially be aware of when you need to replace your timing belt, if you have one. It's usually at 60,000 miles. Don't wait for this to break before replacing it. It can destroy your engine. And because life is unpredictable, look into the availability of a road side service program. More and more auto manufacturers are providing these for their customers or consider one you pay for yourself, such as AAA.